Answer: Yes, there are currently 46 online master’s in integrated marketing communications programs (including programs in marketing communication and public relations) available at schools throughout the United States.
Integrated marketing communications (IMC), which encompasses marketing, advertising, and public relations (PR), form the foundation of an organization’s relationship with its client base, as well as with the public at large. Traditionally, marketing and public relations have been two distinct yet related fields that are equally crucial to the success of an organization. While marketing concerns the promotion of a company’s products and/or services to current and possible customers, public relations is defined as the communications that help organizations maintain a strong reputation and brand identity, and to navigate important situations with stakeholders. Marketing and public relations work together to ensure the success of a company or organization: sound and ethical marketing practices are part of a good PR strategy, because they enhance consumer trust, while effective PR campaigns uphold a company’s reputation, which is essential for marketing initiatives to be successful.
Recently, more organizations have begun considering marketing and public relations to be part of an entire integrated marketing strategy, which has led to the creation of integrated marketing communications as a distinct discipline. Underpinning integrated marketing communications is the philosophy that all external-facing communications and related departments, from public relations to advertising, marketing, marketing analytics, promotions, etc., must work together under a unified strategy to most effectively achieve an organization’s goals. As a result, there has been a growth in graduate programs in integrated marketing communications that incorporate multiple elements of marketing, public relations, communication technologies, and communication analytics, from direct advertising to social media, customer and stakeholder relations, brand development, sales, and the leveraging of big data insights to inform media strategies. Many of these IMC programs are offered online and are designed for working professionals interested in advancing their careers, and for students who want to have flexibility in their schedule as they build skills and experience in marketing and public relations.
Online master’s in marketing communication programs prepare students to develop integrated marketing and public relations communication plans, to handle the communications around corporate crisis situations, and to conduct research on consumer preferences and behavior that they can apply to an organization’s media and messaging. Students of these programs also learn about new communication technologies and how to use them strategically to connect with customers and the public. Graduates of these programs can work as marketing and PR specialists and directors, as well as directors of consumer affairs.
|Featured Online Master's in Marketing Communication Programs|
|Johns Hopkins University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Public and Media Relations||Program Website|
|The University of West Alabama||Online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications||Program Website|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Online Master of Science in Marketing with Concentrations in Digital Marketing, Marketing Research & Analytics, New Media & Communications, and Social Media Marketing||Program Website|
|Georgetown University||Online Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications||Program Website|
|Syracuse University||Online Master of Science in Communications with a Specialization in Strategic Communications||Program Website|
|West Virginia University||Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications with Specializations in Creative Strategy, Management, and Public Relations Leadership||Program Website|
|University of Delaware||Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication with a Concentration in Public Relations||Program Website|
|Drake University||Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Track in Brand Communication||Program Website|
Examples of Online Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communication Programs
Currently, there are 46 online master’s in marketing communication programs (including online master’s in integrated marketing communications and public relations programs) in the United States. Below are brief descriptions of several of these programs to give students an idea of what they entail:
- Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, and Integrated Marketing Communications has an Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications that trains students to help organizations build strong brand identities. Students take core classes in consumer insights and behavior, statistics and marketing research, marketing management, integrated marketing communications strategy, and financial accounting, followed by electives such as digital and social marketing, brand communication and equity, and integration management.
- Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies offers an Online Master’s in Integrated Marketing Communications that provides students with the knowledge and skills to build successful communication strategies across different channels, and to engage diverse audiences with compelling media content. Students take classes in consumer research and insights, brand concepting, campaign planning, and IMC ethics, before choosing six electives in areas such as cause consulting, design thinking, digital analytics and measurement, entrepreneurial marketing, and personal branding.
- Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business offers a Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications that prepares students for advanced roles in brand management, business development, corporate communications, advertising, marketing research, and more. Students take core courses in brand development, consumer insights, marketing ethics and regulations, IMC campaigns, and strategic communications, before selecting from electives in areas such as creative messaging, digital and direct marketing, sales promotions, crisis management, search engine marketing, business-to-business marketing, and customer relationship management.
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Gies College of Business and College of Media offer a Master of Science in Strategic Brand Communication that teaches students how to create and deliver effective brand messaging through new media technologies. Students take classes in business management, consumer insights, promotional strategies, data analytics, strategic media management, and strategic global branding.
- The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications offers an Online Master of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications with a specialization in Integrated Media Communications (Advertising and Public Relations). This program combines classes in advertising and marketing with courses in PR strategy, and covers concepts in strategic communications in advertising, international and multicultural public relations, creative concepting, global advertising, crisis management, theories of organizational communication, and social media theory and practice.
Online master’s in IMC programs often use a combination of asynchronous and synchronous instruction so that students benefit from interactions with peers and faculty while also completing some course modules according to their own schedules. In addition to fulfilling course requirements, students are typically required to complete a master’s thesis or a capstone project that either examines an issue in marketing or PR, or develops a strategic marketing or PR communication plan to address an organization’s need. Online programs in marketing and PR may also require students to pass a comprehensive exam or complete an internship experience in a relevant setting.
Example Curriculum and Courses in Online Master’s in Marketing Communication Programs
Below is a sample curriculum for an online master’s in marketing communications program. Students should note that programs vary in the content, titling, and sequencing of their courses. Furthermore, programs that focus primarily on PR or marketing communication may have different courses than those listed below, which are based off a course of study for a master’s in integrated marketing communication program. Therefore, the curriculum provided below should only be used as an example.
|Curriculum Component||Course Titles and Graduation Requirement Descriptions|
(Potential Capstone Options)
For a comprehensive list of campus-based, online, and hybrid master’s in communication programs with a specialization in marketing, IMC, and/or public relations, as well as further details on the course content and curricular structure of these programs, please reference our Master’s in Marketing Communication Programs page.
Note: MastersinCommunications.com classifies programs based on their curriculum, including both core and elective classes. For a program to be classified as a master’s in marketing communication program in our database, it must either have a clear specialization in IMC, public relations, advertising, or marketing communication, or have at least three to four courses that are relevant to marketing and/or public relations. Due to the overlap between IMC, marketing communication, and public relations, master’s in communication programs with a specialization in IMC, marketing communication, public relations, strategic marketing communications, and brand communication are included on this page.
Directory of Online Master’s in Marketing Communication Programs
Search Master's in Integrated Marketing Communication Programs
Online Master's in Integrated Marketing Communications and Related Degree Programs
Austin Peay State University(Tennessee)
Central Connecticut State University(Connecticut)
Colorado State University - Fort Collins(Colorado)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Specialization in Brand Communication Interview with Kelly Bruhn, Ph.D. - Drake University
Learn more about the online Master of Arts in Communication program - visit online.drake.edu
Eastern Michigan University(Michigan)
Eastern New Mexico University(New Mexico)
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania(Pennsylvania)
Fordham University(New York)
Georgetown University(District of Columbia)
- Online Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications Interview with Wendy Zajack, MBA - Georgetown University
- Online Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications Interview with Cylor Spaulding, Ph.D. - Georgetown University
Learn more about the online Master of Professional Studies in Integrated Marketing Communications program - visit scs.georgetown.edu
Learn more about the online Master of Professional Studies in Public Relations & Corporate Communications program - visit scs.georgetown.edu
Georgian Court University(New Jersey)
Johns Hopkins University(District of Columbia)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with a Concentration in Public and Media Relations Interview with Taylor Hahn, Ph.D. - Johns Hopkins University
Learn more about the online MA in Communication program - visit advanced.jhu.edu
Kansas State University(Kansas)
Marist College(New York)
Pace University(New York)
- Online Master of Arts in Communications and Digital Media with a Concentration in Social Media and Public Relations
Learn more about the online Master of Arts in Communications and Digital Media - visit online.pace.edu
Rutgers University(New Jersey)
Southeastern Louisiana University(Louisiana)
Southern New Hampshire University(New Hampshire)
- Online Master of Arts in Communication with Optional Concentrations in New Media & Marketing, and Public Relations Interview with Richard Holberg, MA - Southern New Hampshire University
Learn more about the online MA in Communication program - visit Snhu.edu
St. Bonaventure University(New York)
Stephen F. Austin State University(Texas)
Syracuse University(New York)
- Online Master of Science in Communications with a Specialization in Strategic Communications (Advertising, Public Relations)
Learn more about the online Master of Science in Communications program - visit onlinegrad.syracuse.edu
The University of Mississippi(Mississippi)
The University of West Alabama(Alabama)
- Online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)
Learn more about the online Master of Arts in Integrated Marketing Communications program - visit online.uwa.edu
University of Arkansas at Little Rock(Arkansas)
University of Delaware(Delaware)
- Online Master of Arts in Strategic Communication with a Concentration in Public Relations Interview with Kami J. Silk, Ph.D. - University of Delaware
Learn more about the online MA in Strategic Communication program - visit online.udel.edu
University of Denver(Colorado)
University of Findlay(Ohio)
University of Florida(Florida)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign(Illinois)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln(Nebraska)
University of Southern California(California)
West Virginia University(West Virginia)
- Online Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications Interview with Chad Mezera - West Virginia University (Data Marketing)
- Online Master of Science in Digital Marketing Communications Interview with Chad Mezera - West Virginia University (Digital Marketing)
- Online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications with Specializations in Creative Strategy, Data Marketing Communications, Digital and Social Media, Healthcare Communications, Higher Education Marketing, and Public Relations Leadership Interview with Chad Mezera - West Virginia University (IMC)
Learn more about the online Master of Science in Data Marketing Communications program - visit marketingcommunications.wvu.edu
Learn more about the online Master of Science in Digital Marketing Communications program - visit marketingcommunications.wvu.edu
Learn more about the online Master of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications program - visit marketingcommunications.wvu.edu